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Miscilaneous Questions + Sony SS-C460AV (1 Viewer)

GranteedEV

Auditioning
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Jun 27, 2009
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Real Name
Tarun
Hi, I'm thinking of (finally) getting surround sound, though i don't wanna enter at entry level. For most of my life, I've just used my tv speakers for my gaming, movie-watching, and tv watching needs: after all, ignorance is bliss! I mean, I've heard better sound quality, especially from good headphone sets, so I'm not exactly saying I didn't REALIZE TV speakers are pretty sub-par. I just..never cared.

With the advent of HD gaming, I found myself "forced" into working this summer in order to be able to play Tales of Vesperia in my basement, as the widescreen TV i have upstairs is almost completely reserved by almost everyone else in my family. This game looked like total crap on the 15 year old old 27 inch CRT we had sitting in the basement, so i figured i'd pick up a cheap ~40 inch LCD. I was wrong. I ended up doing a bit more "research" than just and craving a better mid-level TV - and changed my decision to getting a plasma - and I got it a few weeks ago for a decent price (on clearance), a 46 inch Panasonic PZ85U, and I'm really loving it. Anyways, while I was setting up the TV , I noticed an old stereo system in the same room which we've barely EVER used, and bought around when "5 CD changers" were all the rage.

Since i was already setting up the TV, I figured I'd take a look at the back of the amp and see if I could hook the plasma up to the larger speakers it came with. The difference in sound quality? Night and Day. We hooked up a PS3 to the TV and watched Transformers the other week, and it was pretty amazing to be watching it with so much bass and volume while also getting nice clarity. But this at the end of the day was just 2.0, with a pair of speakers I have no idea how good they are RELATIVELY, as I have no real point of reference nor am I an audiophile who can really tell the difference without hearing them side by side with another set.

At the back of my mind, I'd always thought about picking up a home theatre in a box system someday, something decent and cheap, and buy some stands too. I was never actually oblivous to it, but it wasn't exactly a top priority either. All those years of watching second hand VHS tapes can do that to you. But after watching an action movie in blu ray with beautiful picture quality, with my ACTUAL 1080P hi def TV in a basement, you start to crave more. I've always imagined that those tiny little 5 inch speakers are probably pretty crappy, and compared to a 3 or 4 foot tall speaker, it's kind of like "uh....maybe something better and bigger". My mind was still on an HTIB, and I'd been looking at a couple different options, and according to CNET, some of those Onkyo HTIBs actually bring pretty damn good performance for the price. My price range went from something like 200 dollars to like 700 dollars. "Great".

And then I was just googling around and came to a forum (I think this one, actually, though I don't remember, it was a few hours ago) which suggested getting an amp separate from speakers/subs, and linked to SVS' 5.1 package. I figured I might just do that, pick up a good amp (the Onkyo 706?) and then build around it starting with 5.1 and eventually going to 7.1 someday. Problem? that brings my budget up even higher, in the low ~1500 area, doesn't it, and of course you need stands, I can't be putting little bookshelf speakers on the floor, nor do I have the walls or end-tables neccessary for other options.

Which brought me to my next idea: for the time being (and i'm certainly in no rush what with the fact that I don't even have enough to buy it RIGHT NOW): Get an amp(on TV stand), 2 rear bookshelves + stands , a centre(put it on the TV stand), and a sub(put it on the floor). And just use the old tower speakers that I am right now, at least for the time being until i wanna upgrade to 7.1 and then 7.1 with all the same brand of speakers. I figure that should suffice for a good quality to result ratio.

Now that's great and all, but I don't want to be bottle-necked by my old speakers, IE hear something totally different in bass level etc from those speakers that I do from the back. So after that huge wall of text, I'm brought to my question:

1) the Sony SS C460AV Tower Speakers, roughly ~12 years old - how good is the sound quality, does anyone have more information on these speakers? I don't even know if they were cheap or expensive at the time, and my parents don't really remember either. When we bought it, my sister and I just wanted to (gulp) listen to our Backstreet Boys in the living room (wow....)

2) Said speakers, they have subs built in or something? Because the vibration they produce in with bass boost and high bass is enough to vibrate our entire house. I don't really know too much about speakers, but when I think of vibration and low frequency sound like that I imagine that's being produced by a sub. And in this case, doesn't this mean that my amp would need to send MORE wattage to these speakers as opposed to the other two.

3) If those speakers have significantly worse sound quality, can you "get away with it" by using them as rear speakers instead (which I've heard most movies use less often in 5.1 compared to the front and center channels. Is it not recommended to have towers in the rear?

4) Is there any program or something I can use to actually test if I'm getting decent sound reproduction out of these? Kind of like how you can use AVIA to calibrate your TV's contrast and brightness etc. I'm not someone who can do this sort of thing just by "hearing it", but I am someone who cares enough that I'd prefer to at least know what settings are best for high quality.

5) Does my plan sound like a good one? I want to do this slowly and carefully, but I don't want to buy anything I'd have to replace, either.

6) How much of a difference will speaker wire make, and what do you recommend? The room is roughly somewhere between 17 x 15 or 19 x 16 and the TV is roughly 10ft away from the main couch.

Ultimately, I just want something that'll truly impress anyone (especially myself) who were to sit down in my basement living room, with the exception of audio and videophiles with huge wallets. I want the flexibility to upgrade but to do so at my own pace, - I don't want to have to "feel a NEED" to upgrade asap. Sorry for my post being so long, I tried to be clear and concise.
 

Stephen Tu

Screenwriter
Joined
Apr 26, 1999
Messages
1,572
If you are happy with the sound from your speakers right now, which is all that really matters in the end; if they are substantial towers with 10+" woofers, what I would do is just buy a 7.1 receiver (Onkyo 607/Yamaha 565), and a decent pair of bookshelves to run as surrounds. Run the system as 4.0 for now.

At some point, when you feel like upgrading, get front L+C+R + sub. Or maybe a full 5.1 system & push the bookshelves back as rear surrounds for 7.1.
All 3 fronts should be bought together since you want to match; surrounds are less critical. Get a sub at the same time as you'll probably get smaller bookshelf speakers.

This way you don't spend too much but have a clear upgrade path.
 

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